Tuesday, December 4, 2012

North Korea Unearths Unicorn Lair

North Korea or Bust!

Yes, it's true. North Korean scientists have located an actual unicorn lair. At least, that is, according to the North Korean press, famous for promoting stories such as how the North Korean weather mourned the recent death of leader Kim Jong-Il. Apparently, in the mythological history of the world's only necrocracy, the unicorn lair plays an important role.

Jo Hui Sung, director of the Institute, told KCNA: "Korea's history books deal with the unicorn, considered to be ridden by King Tongmyong, and its lair.

The Sogyong (Pyongyang) chapter of the old book 'Koryo History' (geographical book), said: Ulmil Pavilion is on the top of Mt. Kumsu, with Yongmyong Temple, one of Pyongyang's eight scenic spots, beneath it. The temple served as a relief palace for King Tongmyong, in which there is the lair of his unicorn.

The discovery of the unicorn lair, associated with legend about King Tongmyong, proves that Pyongyang was a capital city of Ancient Korea as well as Koguryo Kingdom.

Most experts think that stories about unicorn horns originated with the narwhal, a whale with a single horn that grows from the middle of its forehead. The thing is, a narwhal on top of a mountain makes absolutely no sense, so that can't be it. One wonders - if the unicorn lair turns out to be real, will the creature finally shower the North Korean people with rainbows? The way things have been going there for the last several decades they sure could use some.

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2 comments:

robjo said...

The old folklore I've read about unicorns again and again described a creature that seemed to me to be very similar to a rhinocerous, far closer to that than a horse. I've always thought that unicorns were most likely an extinct mammal from the same family, just with one horn instead of three.

Scott Stenwick said...

That's certainly a possibility. There are two existing species of rhinoceros - the Indian and Javan species - with single horns, so the source of the legend might not even be extinct (though the Javan species is critically endangered). They're both native to southern Asia, and I suppose at some point in the distant past one could have been brought as far north as Korea.

Of course, given the nature of the North Korean media, I remain skeptical. Besides, whether the unicorn in question was a rhinoceros or didn't exist at all, the result is the same - no rainbows for the North Korean people.